Reliquary for a Common Man (2014.3)

Catalogue Record

Collection

Maker

Title

Reliquary for a Common Man

Made in

London

Date

2012

Description

Reliquary for a Common Man is a memorial to the maker’s uncle-in-law, Leslie James Cox (1926-2008). It is also the 'keystone' of Stair’s 2013 solo show Quietus: The Vessel, Death and the Human Body, a collection of ceramic vessels that address the containment of the human body in death, through vessels.

An intensely personal work, Reliquary embodies the themes of the exhibition through the incorporation of Leslie Cox’s cremated remains into the actual artwork. Stair has substituted the ox-bone element of bone china with Leslie Cox’s remains to create a cinerary jar to hold the remaining ash, and in doing so reinforces the corporeal identity of the vessel and creates a piece which is both memorial to, and made from, Leslie Cox.

The work comprises cinerary jar, lead plinth, audio recording of an interview with Leslie Cox, film compiled from family Super8 cine footage and a slide show of still photographs of Cox from childhood to older age.

Dimensions

height:  16.6cm
diameter:  17cm
height:  106.7cm
width:  60cm
length:  60cm

Object number

2014.3

Category

References

Credit

Purchase of Reliquary for a Common Man (2012) supported by a donation from Gerard and Sarah Griffin and with the assistance of the Art Fund.
  • Reliquary for a Common Man, Julian Stair, 2012, Crafts Council Collection: 2014.3, as displayed at COLLECT: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects at the Saatchi Gallery, London, 9-12 May 2014. Purchase of Reliquary for a Common Man (2012) supported by a donation from Gerard and Sarah Griffin and with the assistance of the Art Fund. Photo: Sophie Mutevelian.

  • Reliquary for a Common Man, Julian Stair, 2012, Crafts Council Collection: 2014.3, as displayed at COLLECT: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects at the Saatchi Gallery, London, 9-12 May 2014. Purchase of Reliquary for a Common Man (2012) supported by a donation from Gerard and Sarah Griffin and with the assistance of the Art Fund. Photo: Sophie Mutevelian.

Related documents

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The UK Crafts Council Collection, article by Paul Bailey, courtesy of Ceramics: Art and Perception TECHNICAL
The UK Crafts Council Collection, article by Paul Bailey, courtesy of Ceramics: Art and Perception TECHNICAL

Maker's statement

[My ambition is] to position art as a material mediation of how we come to terms with death, and ultimately, that is a celebration of life. So with Leslie I wanted it to be a celebration of a life, not a kind of feeling of loss and sadness.

The piece is really a person; some of the molecules that were part of his body.